Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS KING KIRBY! X-MEN! AMBUSH BUG! DAN DARE! AND MUCH MORE!

Published at: July 30, 2008, 5 a.m. CST by ambush bug

#12 7/22/08 #7
Logo by Squashua

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) KIRBY: KING OF COMICS HC UNCANNY X-MEN #500 AMBUSH BUG: YEAR NONE #1 DAREDEVIL #109 DAN DARE #7 THUNDERBOLTS #122 dot.comics presents HOW TO BE BULLETPROOF Webcomic Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents GHOST TALKER’S DAY DREAM VOL 1 Indie Jones presents TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN OGN Indie Jones presents 16 MILES TO MERRICKS & OTHER WORKS OGN CHEAP SHOTS!

KIRBY: KING OF COMICS HC

Written by Mark Evanier Art by Jack Kirby (duh) Published by Abrams Books Reviewed by Stones Throw

One of the funniest mistakes I’ve seen in a mainstream media article about comics was around the time of the first X-MEN movie, where the creation of Marvel’s main characters was credited to a mysterious individual called “Jack Lee”. Boy, if only he’d have got together with Stan Kirby then we’d really have seen something, I bet.
There hasn’t been anything like those kind of laughs in all the many reviews I’ve seen of this book, and that’s all down to the clear, impartial and character-filled way Mark Evanier records Kirby’s life story in KING OF COMICS. No, it’s not the definitive biography. You get seven chapters tracing Kirby’s career from its start at Max Fleischer’s animation studios, his service on the beaches of France during WWII (including sketches and letters sent to his wife Roz) through to the creation of the Marvel icons during the 1960s, to his later years and final work in the ‘90s, that give the reader more of an overview, with brief asides or quotes from Kirby or Lee or Simon, on the man. But what it doesn’t have in detail is more than accounted for by the focus on the man’s artwork. Really, this is the only way to do a Kirby book—rather than tell you about what he did, Evanier shows it to you in full, oversized glory.
Sorry to be controversial and all, but man, that Jack Kirby could draw. We tend to get inured to the pure power of Kirby’s art through its ubiquity in today’s comic book world, but seeing images like the still-classic cover to AVENGERS #4 or the first appearance of Thor in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY in original size and color is a revelation.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Included in the section on Kirby’s early years is a never before published 10-page autobiographical tale called “Street Code” that is more like something you’d expect from Will Eisner than what’s typically thought of as a Jack Kirby comic. What’s particularly great abut it is that he draws a “block fight” between local kids with the same raw, reckless power of Orion throwing down with Darkseid, while a two page spread of his 1920s New York tenement is as epic as any cosmic vista from FANTASTIC FOUR or THE MIGHTY THOR. “Street Code” is in no way a linear tale, more of a snapshot of a typical few minutes of Kirby’s childhood, but the emotion it builds with only a few almost impressionistic scenes and minimalistic narration is remarkable. Check out this quote from the last page: “But, I was hurting – hurting for Georgie and me -- and the lousy things we had to do for the street code.” I have to say “Street Code” is already one of my very favorite Kirby comics I’ve read.
I don’t want to give Evanier’s text short shrift though. Most of us know the basic story of Kirby’s work at Marvel in the ‘60s and following move to DC to bring us the New Gods and more, but KING OF COMICS really opened my eyes to the volume and influence of work that he (often with editor/writer/inking partner Joe Simon) created for the comic industry from the early ‘40s through the 1950s. Like, I knew he used the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion in his FOURTH WORLD comics in the ‘70s, but did you know that those characters were actually created by Kirby and Simon in the Golden Age? The Sandman, Blue Beetle, even a large proportion of the first issue of CAPTAIN MARVEL—these guys were all over.
I was a bit worried about how Evanier might portray the still-divisive Lee/Kirby partnership, but any personal feeling or emotional loyalty is cast aside in favor of some good old-fashioned journalistic impartiality. The only bit that struck me as slightly odd is the author’s rationalization of why Kirby might have been taken off the Spider-Man strip in favor of Steve Ditko. It makes a little more sense to me that Stan wanted a more realistic tone for the character over Kirby’s Captain Marvel-like story of a teen finding a magic ring than the explanation Evanier comes up with.
Other tidbits of interest: the story behind the creation of THE X-MEN and DAREDEVIL (publisher Martin Goodman wanted another team like the FF and another solo hero like Spidey, prompting Kirby to comment “he’s gone from ripping off other people’s comics to ripping off his own”); Kirby’s planned origin of the Silver Surfer that had to be scrapped when Stan gave a solo book to John Buscema. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for Kirby’s incredible, psychedelic proposals for a redesign of Thor from 1968. Other than brief flashes of inspiration from the likes of Walt Simonson, Thor has floundered as one of Marvel’s more marginal A-listers since Kirby left the book, with writers and artists eternally aping what was done by Stan and Jack in the ‘60s. But there’s Kirby putting forward his ideas for an entirely new version of the character. In fact, it looks a fair bit like Oliver Coipel’s current take on Thor.
In a summer where the box office is dominated by Kirby-indebted works like IRON MAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK and HELLBOY, and Marvel and DC are pushing SECRET INVASION (Skrulls) and FINAL CRISIS (New Gods), I can’t think of a better read than KIRBY: KING OF COMICS. Necessary for any fan of the King.

UNCANNY X-MEN #500

Writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Faction Artists: Terry Dodson & Greg Land Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

Every cc of tepid emotion that courses through my bloodstream about this landmark yet understated issue is counter-balanced by equal volumes of respect for the choices that made it enjoyable without pandering to the event nature of the almighty number five hundred. This issue did not blow my mind and I’m actually grateful for it, in part.
I’m sure most of us were expecting this issue to give us epic fanboy boners with kitschy gimmicks, red headed resurrections, time confounding trips to days of future past, or some other resuscitated Claremont plot device. That would have been easy and expected, so kudos need to go to this team for not falling into such traps. While the past is not completely abandoned, Brubaker and Fraction have clearly set the X-Men on the path towards a “brand new day” (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Ultimately, though, I think it’s going to take a few more issues to find mutant nirvana. The over arching concepts are good and solid; it was just a rough ride getting to them.
To put everything in context I traversed my long boxes to read the very first few issues of X-MEN crafted by Mister Stan Lee. Surely, issue five hundred could in no way compare to not only the bedrock of the mutant universe, but some will argue the turning point in comic story-telling. After closing the last yellowed gently frayed page of issue five, I realized that we have come so far and not quite far at all. Quite honestly, as introductory books go, issue five hundred makes issue one look like a caveman trying to play chess with Bobby Fisher. All of the introductory elements are in place, but good God the stark difference in story-telling and artistry between then and now humanizes the team more than any silver-age creative team could have imagined.
Like the first few issues back in the 1960’s, we get acclimated to who the X-Men are and what they stand for. Instead of the residence on Graymalkin Lane we are now taken on a tour of the mutant reserve funded by Warren Worthington on the outskirts of San Francisco. While heavy in exposition and feeling like an episode of Robin Leech’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Ostracized”, I breezed through these pages and was thankful for them since it filled in a lot of holes left open by the last issue of ASTONISHING. The only portion of this lead-in that bothered me was the mayor of San Francisco. Being an uptight cynical bastard raised in New Jersey, I just don’t get the California laid-back vibe. There is no way a flibbertigibbet like this would ever hold a public office in the North East corridor. Maybe it’s a left coast thing, but I’m just not buying this woman as an elected official. I only hope she fades into the background in future issues.
Also the X-credo has irrevocably changed. Instead of training future super heroes, the new X-mandate is to have this compound serve as a mutant sanctuary where freaks can frolic and get their freak on without scrutiny or fear. A nice concept, but certainly not one wrought with peril. When I was reading these pages I could only hope that despite best intentions, racism will rear its ugly head once more and make this area ground zero for a little bit of the ultra-violence. Sure enough, the last page of the book delivered on this hope. Ahhh, thank you, racism.
The most action oriented part of the book was the reintroduction of Magneto and the Sentinels. A controversial art exhibit honoring the atrocities of humanity’s past has the decommissioned behemoth metal menaces as its centerpiece. Let’s just say they don’t stay decommissioned for very long. The team dynamics of the X-men were right on in this section even if I question Magneto’s character choices (i.e. this ain’t Magneto).
I love Land and Dodson’s past solo artistic efforts, and each one tackles their respective pages in this issue quite well with their own unique style. Unfortunately their styles are so divergent that swapping off pages at a breakneck pace makes the read more jarring than riding shotgun next to Pa Ingalls. It’s sort of like a peanut butter and pubic hair sandwich. Both ingredients serve their purposes in this world, especially in these trying economic times, but not all things in this world are meant to be brought together. Were this an anthology or if the issue was parsed out into divergent stories totally separate from the main event I would be more forgiving of this choice; as one continuous issue, though, it’s just too damn choppy.
For every part I loved about this story there was always a flaw or a fumble that would pull me out of the moment. It was not a spectacular start, but after the mass confusion of the past few years, any start, even a weak one, makes me overjoyous. Now, if I can just figure out how this fits in with the rest of the stories within the X-verse, because right now things are being bound together by Elmer’s Glue and chewed bubble gum. Someone in editorial at Marvel needs to make some fast decisions. For those of us buying all things X, the amount of continuity inconsistencies between books are ranking higher than the national debt.
When Optimous Douche isn’t reading comics and misspelling the names of 80’s icons, he “transforms” into a corporate communications guru. Optimous is looking for artistry help, critical feedback and a little industry insight to get his original book AVERAGE JOE up, up and on the shelves. What if the entire world had super powers? Find out in the blog section of Optimous’ MySpace page to see some preview pages and leave comments.

AMBUSH BUG: YEAR NONE #1

Penciled & Plotted: Keith Giffen Dialog: Robert Loren Fleming Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Picking an AICN Code Name is something akin to choosing a tattoo. As long as you don't act like a douche and get banned, it's something you'll be saddled with for a long, long time. Back in 1999 (god, has it been that long?), when I first discovered AICN and AICN Comics was just a glimmer in the @$$Holes' eyes, I took a while to think about what user name to choose. After a while I had it. Ambush Bug. The name of one of my favorite comic book creations, and one of the most important comic books ever to hit the stands. Sure some people will swear up and down that the release of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS or THE WATCHMEN was the turning point when comics became relevant and something more than mere funny books, but for me, the AMBUSH BUG miniseries (especially the first two) were the ones that made me think that comics could be much more than what we thought they could be.
Just as WATCHMEN and DKR made people take comics seriously, AMBUSH BUG was the opposite and long before Shatner gave his famous "Get a life!" SNL speech, it made fun of the fans as well as the creators for taking comics way too seriously. Keith Giffen's sometimes kooky, sometimes apathetic, sometimes depressed character held up a mirror to the comics industry, making fun of annoying trends and revealing insightful realities that many comic book fans and creators were unable to see (or maybe unwilling to see is more like it). Not only did the Bug make fun of age old comic book clichés like inner monologues, clunky exposition, and over the top acting, Giffen's Bug wasn't afraid to poke at current trends like Liefeld's art while he was drawing X-FORCE, long before it was hip to do so and passé to do so now. If it was on the printed page during or before Ambush Bug was created, it was fair game to dissect, ridicule, and judge.
The Bug's been gone from comics for a while (I don't count his tiny cameos in 52 and extended cameos in the last LOBO miniseries because the Bug showed up mainly as comic fodder in those, much like he did in his first appearances in ACTION COMICS and DC COMICS PRESENTS). The insightful and fourth wall breaking character hasn't had a chance to shine since I believe his NOTHING SPECIAL Special. A lot has happened in comics since then and this YEAR NONE #1 wastes no time letting the ridicule flow from the very first page.
The issue starts somewhere right before this whole INFINITE/IDENTITY/FINAL CRISIS stuff began, with Kirby's stone Source Wall talking to the reader and wondering what comic book he's in, then complaining about everything from a dispute with Darkseid to Michael Jackson's glitter glove and Big Barda's moustache. Once that tiny preview of events to come is over, we are "POP!"-ed to Chicago where Johnny DC (one of AB's supporting cast members and DC's own Continuity Cop) is murdered. Soon the Bug is on the case to find the murderer. A lot of familiar faces show up along the way: Cheeks, Argh!lyle, and the aforementioned Johnny DC, plus obscurities like Yankee Poodle, Ace the Bathound, Egg Fu, ‘Mazing Man and Sugar from Sugar and Spice. The appearance of these characters will be sure to put smiles on longtime DC readers’ faces, but doesn't really leave newbs scratching their heads because the comedy occurs within the panel itself, void of any need for real reference. It just enriches the scenes when you know who these characters are. After a battle with a 60's hipster, the Bug embarks on the next leg of his adventure leading into next issue's run-in with Blue Beetle.
This is a book for fans of AMBUSH BUG and longtime readers of comics. That seems to be the intended audience here with all of the winks and nods to characters past and the apathetic views towards today's trends. If you're a new comic reader or one who just began reading comics in the last ten years or so, some of the stuff in this book may piss you off. I understand why there will be those who will shout "THAT SUXORS!" in the Talkbacks. Challenging what one believes in is a tough thing to go through and it's something not unlike death. As with Kubler-Ross' Five Stages of Death, new readers may suffer from denial, then anger, then bargaining, then depression, but hopefully acceptance will soon set in after reading this comic. Comics can be fun. Comics are not sacred tomes that cannot be made fun of. We as readers and especially the makers of comics do take ourselves waaaay too seriously and should be able to make fun of ourselves from time to time. And that's what AMBUSH BUG: YEAR NONE #1 does so well.
I laughed out loud at least once per page as I read this book. Giffen and Fleming's writing is sharp and pointing their fingers directly towards the current comic fans and makers. From the pile-up of dead bodies of women in the DCU to the commentary about the thought balloon vs. caption box debate, every joke, jab, and jibe hits the bullseye. Giffen's art is a bit more restrained than I remember, and less boxy. I prefer his earlier work, but in this issue he proves that he still has it.
To a lesser extent, I've been trying my damndest to do the name Ambush Bug proud in these seven-odd years I've been reviewing comics here at AICN. I try to look at the trends objectively and insightfully. I try to point out when fans and creators are taking themselves too seriously. And I never balk at making fun of myself for falling into these trappings as well. AMBUSH BUG: YEAR NONE #1 is one of those books that makes me proud that I chose my moniker de plume. I know saying a comedy comic is an important read may be seen as somewhat over an overstatement, but in this time of gloom and seriousness, the time couldn't be more perfect for the Bug to comment on the current state of affairs in comics. This should be required reading for fans and creators alike. It's fun stuff and I'm glad that there will be more issues to come in the coming months. Now more than ever we need Giffen and his Bug to break the fourth wall and shove in our faces that which we are unwilling to accept.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over seven years. Look for his first published work in MUSCLES & FIGHTS 3 (AVAILABLE NOW!) at Muscles & Fights.com. Check out a five page preview on his ComicSpace page. Bug was recently interviewed here and here at Cream City about indie comics, his own artistic process, the comics industry, and other shades of bullsquat. Look for Bug’s follow-up this Fall in MUSCLES & FRIGHTS!

DAREDEVIL #109

Writers: Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka Artists: Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

The current Daredevil story could feel like a tired retread of a story told many many times before. But to the credit of the team on this book, it doesn’t even though I have seen these story concepts a million times before. Matt Murdock has to save a man on death row. The guy looks guilty as sin, he wants to be executed. And yet…he’s innocent. With the clock ticking, it’s up to Daredevil to discover the truth of what is going on. Complicated setup yet, actually, been down this road before. Maybe it’s just that an innocent man willingly walking to his death for hidden reasons is always going to be compelling.
This issue starts out with another classic pulp trope: a hero - in this case Dakota North - being confronted by a parent who is knee deep in corruption and conspiracy who tells them they need to back off of their investigation for their own good. I think Chris Carter alone has done this scene at least 27 times. When I saw it being used again in this issue I actually got nervous. First thing even close to a bad step I’ve seen in DAREDEVIL in awhile. I just get uncomfortable reading a scene so familiar that I know what the characters will say before they say it.
Despite this iffy start though, dang if I wasn’t back on board by the end. Again, innocent man’s life in the balance? Can’t get better stakes than that. But more than that, this is DAREDEVIL. This isn’t “The X-Files”. On “The X-Files”, someone might tell Mulder or Scully to watch their step but, in the end, you knew they’d be okay. A beloved recurring character might get knocked off but our heroes were safe. That isn’t the case with DD. This is a book that has no compunction about killing important characters (even if sometimes only temporarily). So in this issue when things get serious, we actually believe for a fact they could be deadly serious. Compliments to Lark and Gaudiano’s art for that too. The art sells this book’s darkest chills really well. The fact that the, uh, money shot isn’t designed to be the best angle to capture the full nasty effect of what is happening but instead seems framed more like we are happening to see it from where we happened to be standing when things just… happened. And the final panel on that same page, a close up on a certain character…man, that panel gives me the chills. It sells the reality of the story frighteningly well.
Jinxo is Thom Holbrook, lifelong comic book reader, and the evil genius behind poobala.com. He may appear cute and cuddly but if encountered avoid eye contact and DO NOT attempt to feed.

DAN DARE #7

Writer: Garth Ennis Art: Gary Erskine Publisher: Virgin Comics Reviewer: Humphrey Lee

Some how, some way, despite being over fifty years old I managed to avoid knowing that the character of Dan Dare even existed. It's an even further miracle that I managed to catch this in the back of the PREVIEWS in Virgin's section, where things can tend to get lost in the midst of all the "Such and Such Hollywood Name Presents" titles. But there it was, smack dab with Garth Ennis' name on it, and a couple "clickity-klacks" of the keyboard on ye olde Wiki and I discovered that basically this book is a giant Space Age war tale, and if there's anything I enjoy in my comics, it's Garth Ennis doing a war tale. The fact that it's a space story, something I've never seen Ennis do before, was an added bonus. Finally, throw in the highly under-rated Gary Erskine's pencils, and you've got me buying a Virgin title - a scarce occurrence indeed.
And BTW, this series was fucking awesome!! Now let's get to the "hows and why-fors"...
Dan Dare is that consummate hero that most comics wish they could have. Brave as any man could ever been given the odds he faces, intelligent, fierce, and more loyal to his cause and country than even the most dedicated of Patriots. This is one of the most enthralling leads I've seen in an action epic since the last time I caught “Gladiator” on late-night Showtime replay. Keeping in the theme of the old stories, from what I understand, this seven issue mini-series has once again put Dare and the British (Space) Navy in conflict with the alien race known as the Treens, and their super-intelligent leader The Mekon in a future where at any point that race threatens to overrun humanity. One of those "eternal struggle" type deals, and in this case it more than lives up to the billing.
Again, I don't know anything about the past DAN DARE comics and what have you, but if they were anywhere near as enthralling as Ennis' take on this saga then I definitely know what I'm going to be turning into my next Convention hunt. Between the essence of Dare's character himself, an easy to latch onto supporting cast, some fantastic "How are they going to get out of this one?" scenarios and their follow-thru's, and just the proper emotional hits of pride, determination, and the indomitable human spirit - these seven issues were really some of the most fun and engaging comics I've read this year.
The way Ennis makes you buy into this setting, and hooks you into the characters with minimal effort, is really just a testament to how good he does these kinds of stories, even if the sci-fi nature of it isn't something you'd normally see from him. And Gary Erskine has always been one of those artists I thought had great skill in capturing the pure essence of humanity in his pencils, which obviously comes from that 2000AD upbringing, and it's the perfect fit here. There's some absolutely chilling shots throughout this series, and particularly in this finale, that perfectly depict the horror and sacrifice of war. The next time Ennis does one of his little war projects down the road, I hope Mr. Erskine is in tow because together they've got this down pat. If this is the kind of stories we can expect to see come out of a DAN DARE revival then I'm all for it. I just hope Virgin can keep this quality a creative team on it, in which case they'll definitely be on to something truly worth pushing a comics line with.
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, and a Blogger Account where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.

THUNDERBOLTS #122

Writer: Christos N. Gage Artist: Fernando Blanco Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

The good news here is that I think the new team taking over THUNDERBOLTS seem capable and up to the task. Blanco’s art is solid. The action sequences are solid, he knows how to set up a shot or a page to bring out the drama he wants. There does seem to be a little to much dramatic squinting going on but, hey, that mountain base is kind of dark. They should get better lights in there. You don’t need that group all pissed off with tension headaches for God’s sake. On the writing side, there are good signs. Gage isn’t trying to throw everything out and start from scratch. He’s clearly picking up the story where it was left and trying to move forward with many of the plots already in play. He seems to have a good take on the characters as well.
Coming in after Ellis’ run, these guys do have big shoes to fill. Not an enviable task. The problem is, while I can see signs in the new team’s first issue that the Thunderbolts are in good hands…that’s all I can see. Signs. Because overall, sadly, this first issue is a miss for me. But I’m hoping this is just one small stumble coming out of the gate.
The problem for me was this issue tried to wedge way too many story elements in in a way that didn’t flow smoothly. It seems like they had three things they wanted to accomplish in this issue: they wanted to reestablish the characters and the situation of the comic…I guess for new readers, they wanted to put a little forward motion on some of the running plots and they also had to work the Secret Invasion plot into the book. But instead of interweaving all these tasks throughout the whole book, they take them one at a time, which for me gave the book a sort of start and stop feel. It felt almost like three smaller issues instead of one cohesive one.
First we have a throwaway battle serving as window dressing to disguise Gage’s reestablishing and summing up what has been going on in the book. And while that might be helpful for new readers, for me as a long term reader it felt like a waste of my time. And it screamed out that there was a new writer on the book rather than there being a seamless transition. That done, we reset and move onto moving forward plot threads. A major new character is added, a character who should reek of mystery and trouble. As should her arrival. But there is only a perfunctory amount of mystery. We could have seen her walking up to the mountain, wondering for much of the walk who she was. We could be given a glimpse of some troubling smirk on her face nobody else sees. We could have been given SOMETHING more. But we are only allotted X pages for that plot so I guess we have to keep it quick. Because we do need to move to the third part of the book with the SECRET INVASION stuff where Captain Marvel attacks Thunderbolt Mountain. And that part in and of itself, like the other parts of the book, works okay. But it feels like its own separate thing.
This issue isn’t horrible--it just isn’t a home run. Now that the stage is set I think things should likely run more smoothly. I have some faith in the new crew. They just didn’t nail this one.
As a PS, let me sum up why Captain Marvel is attacking the Thunderbolts. For those trying to follow along, Captain Marvel is actually a Skrull brainwashed into thinking he was Captain Marvel. Only he discovered the truth of his identity, embraced his Captain Marvel identity and turned his back on the Skrulls. Only, shortly after that, he became disgusted that the Thunderbolts were villains pretending to be heroes and signed back on with the Skrulls as long as he was allowed to target the Thunderbolts. So we have villains playing heroes being attacked by…a villain who has become a hero but who is…acting as a villain. Oh man, now I have a headache.

HOW TO BE BULLETPROOF Webcomic

By Kirt E. Burdick First page can be found here. Reviewer: Ambush Bug

One of the coolest things about online comics (other than the fact that they are frikkin’ free—something I have to keep reminding you all), is that the variety of the types of comics in this particular medium is huge. I think it’s due to the fact that these guys go out there, make their own comics, and publish it themselves online. There’s no big corporation telling them what to do or what style to use or what trends to follow. If a webcomic creator has a story idea, they just do it. They don’t check with someone first. And there’s something to admire in that.
HOW TO BE BULLETPROOF is an especially ballsy little comic. It stars a crusty sea dog (Sailor Mick) and an actual dog (Joe “Bulletproof” Blue) possessed by the spirit of a heroin addicted mob enforcer. The story is set in 1999, but the tone of the story seems to be around 1950 with tree lined yards, fedora wearing thugs, and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER-style characters throughout.
HOW TO BE BULLETPROOF is a bizarre little tale of revenge and hazy memories. Sailor Mick is getting on in years and he’s not the crook he used to be. His memory is becoming pretty hazy to the point where he doesn’t remember from one day to the next whether or not he’s been paid for jobs. This isn’t good when Mick thinks the crooks he works with ripped him off (they could’ve, but then again Mick may have just forgotten he was paid). Doesn’t matter because he kills them anyway and seeks the mob boss, Madame Ambrosia, for payment. Joe “Bulletproof” Blue is in search of Ambrosia as well for revenge. Seems she had him killed, but his hatred for her is so strong that his spirit inhabited the nearest and easiest body he could find: a giant CUJO dog. Now both Sailor Mick and his dog are in search for revenge.
Fans of THE GOON will get a kick out of this story with its 50’s tough guy sensibilities schmelded with the occult. The artwork is pretty damn cool. At times it reminded me of Mike Judge’s artwork from KING OF THE HILL, but that’s no jibe at the artwork. The shaky lines give the story a unique quality that one doesn’t often see in comics. It’s a quick read (just two issues have been released so far), so it’ll be quick for you to catch up on. Looks like new pages drop every Thursday. HOW TO BE BULLETPROOF is one of those original concepts that push the medium of comics while lauding different genres of the past. It’s funny at times and thrilling to see these two interesting characters--one guided by rage, the other’s judgment clouded by age--as they cut a path of revenge. Check out HOW TO BE BULLETPROOF if you’re interested in something different than what you normally see on the shelves.

GHOST TALKER’S DAYDREAM VOL 1

Story by Okuse Saki Art by Meguro Sankichi Released by Dark Horse Manga Reviewer: Scott Green

Who doesn't love a wacky spiritual medium? When I got my current car, one of the AM radio presets was programmed to call up a Christian station. I've never been much of a practitioner of religion, but I've always been interested in hearing about it. I picked up plenty of new insights before my listenership came to a halt when I lost my radio presets and didn't bother re-adding the Christian station. One of the frequently reinforced tidbits was that there are plenty of people who are particularly fascinated by the biblical episode in which King Saul visited the Witch of Endor so that she'd call up the ghost of Samuel. Part of the fascination seemed to be because the episode was an opportunity to ask "if X happened, why can't Y" questions, and part seemed to be because, from the bible to the talk with Tiresias in the Odyssey to TV psychics and Jennifer Love Hewitt, there is always something impressively theatrical about attempts to talk to the dead.
In that "wow!, look at that weird person trying to talk to the dead" line, GHOST TALKER’S DAYDREAM adds Saiki Misaki, a young albinistic woman who'd rather be identified by her primary profession: dominatrix, than her secondary one: ghost talker. Like many titles that set up some physical attribute from which to launch jokes...laugh at the character getting enraged when someone notes her small chest...laugh at the character who flares up because someone notes his shortness...GHOST TALKER’S DAYDREAM erects a gag tee-ball stand to bat jokes off of whenever it's time for a swing at comedy. In this case, Saiki is terribly self conscious of her lack of pubic hair. She goes commando...she's knocked over...she flushes with embarrassment, then rage as the male spectators gawk. The manga features a plenty of attempts at humor utilizing this set-up. At least it's original in particulars if not principle.
Saiki is prompted to take work as a ghost trouble shooter at the behest of Kadotake Souichiro, a spooked, officious nebbish, who can nevertheless take care of the human dimension of problems, thanks to a solid background in mixed martial arts training. While Saiki unwinds a demon thread from under her S&M gear and guides the deceased, Kadotake takes care of human troublemakers with a bit of single leg takedown, full mount, ground and pound action.
Piecemeal, GHOST TALKER’S DAYDREAM illustrates the specific qualities of this premise well. Saiki might read more like a manufactured character than a actual person, and the concept might be muted by cultural differences. But, when she's gesturing at the yakuza across the table from her or smack talking the guy that she's about to club with a metal pipe, the mannerisms in her specific brand of impatience and irreverence do make her endearing.
In addition to a solid handling of these character moments, Meguro Sanikichi proves to be an impressively harsh illustrator of physical violence. During the fights, there is a combined impression of concussive force and that the people slamming into each other are rather familiar with the hurting business. Both in action sequences and in crime sequences, the depiction of violence manages to look dangerous.
Going back to Osamu Tezuka, one of the key assets of the manga tradition has been its willingness to modulate tone. Rather than staking down one mindset, stories can briskly shift weight from light hearted to heart felt. Look at Astro Boy's origin story.... he's sold to a robot circus, a concept that is as whimsically goofy as it sounds. Yet, after reveling in the oddity, Tezuka pulls back the curtain to demonstrate the sorrow of the robots forced to perform. If done well, these modulations can capture surprises and dynamic twists of experience. If done poorly, the manga can undercut itself or appear soulless.
One moment GHOST TALKER’S DAYDREAM is playing in unrestrained quirkiness and Kouta Hirano style cartoon camp. The next, it's cry for humanity material, with infanticide and intense depictions of rape. By unpredictably, rapidly oscillating between scenes intended to raise a smirk and scenes intended to twist your guts in a knot, the experience is flattened. Nothing has the chance to break the threshold where what is on the page is surprising or real enough to provoke a reaction.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for close to seven years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column here.

TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN OGN

By Alex Robinson Publisher: Top Shelf Productions Reviewer: Humphrey Lee

This latest project by Alex Robinson, author of the acclaimed BOX OFFICE POISON and TRICKED graphic novels, could not have come at a better time for this reviewer. TOO COOL here has a couple different themes it works to hit on, and I'll talk about those as best I can in a bit, but the primary focus of the book is to sort of reflect on the high school period and how it defines us, which is something that's been sort of running rampant in the back of my head since I'm nearing that fun fun happy time Ten Year Reunion (aka Let's See Who Got Knocked Up and/or Addicted to Meth-fest '09). But it has been weighing on me a little, at least what I can remember of it, because I've spent the better part of a decade drinking to forget it. Leave it to Alex Robinson to rather succinctly resurface those wounds of the high school experience and to remind me how rather ridiculous it all was said and done.
The story, for those who don't know of the premise, is actually a more adult one; it doesn't actually all take place back in the high school experience of our lead character Andy Wicks. Andy is actually nearing his forties and a rather heavy smoker who has pretty much tried everything he can to quit, but of course to no avail. We pick up with Andy trying a bit of a last resort - hypnotism. It's there that the power of suggestion puts Andy under in an attempt to cure him of his nicotine cravings, but unwittingly traps him in a mental reconstruction of his adolescent years. That is where, as they say, hijinks ensue.
What happens from there on is what you'd expect more or less; Robinson goes through and takes his very personal touch and hits home with all the aspects that make that time of our lives either exciting for some or hellish for others. The awkwardness of meeting new people and making new friends or, Heaven forbid, talking to a member of the opposite gender, and so on and so on, all with the little "twist" of it being from the perspective of someone who has already lived it. Like I mentioned earlier, this all hits a little closer since it's something I'm being sort of confronted with in a reflective sense as of late. I can't help but think back on that time here and there and think, "God I was such a boring little idiot, and I really hated being around most of those people" which, if we're being honest with ourselves, I think is the case with most of us. There's good friends and good times, sure, but on the whole it's not exactly a remarkable experience. But that's what makes that time in our lives what it is, and even though we occasionally get that "I wish I had done this and that differently" tug from our memories, for the most part we're just glad to have been done with it and moved on to hopefully better things.
Now, while that part of TOO COOL worked out rather well as far as I'm concerned, the "resolution" to Andy's addiction is something that I found to be a little off. All through the first half of the story we're led on this line of reasoning that if Andy could stop himself from smoking his first cigarette then that would be the end of it all which, not to sound geek-snarky, we all know would only be the solution if this was some sort of "Quantum Leap" scenario or something. The real resolution actually ends up lying in a situation with his father at the time, something that was not so subtly alluded to here and there, but then kind of hit us with head on at the end. Sure, the moment itself is a powerful one: the point where Andy comes confronted with exactly why he needs to quit for his sake and the sake of his family is very poignantly handled at the time of conflict, but it's the circumstances around it that kind of jerk a little bit of the weight out from around it. It's not so bad a diversion that it ruins the book, because by then it has a good mix of nostalgia and frustration and exhilaration, just a grab bag of emotion going for it to give it momentum, but then it kind of collapses that around itself to get to the end.
All said, TOO COOL is itself a nice little diversion in its 120+ pages, but not a read I'm as highly enthusiastic to recommend as I am the other works of his I mentioned, BOX OFFICE POISON and TRICKED. I don't know how I'd have approached the ending better, obviously: if I did I wouldn't be here critiquing this work, I'd be making ones of my own, but it seems like there could have been a better way of leading us up to the final act. Still though, when this book is working it really does work, and it's at least good for provoking some sentimentality even if that sentiment is "Thank God I survived that". As is, TOO COOL was just "pretty cool", but I'm sure this is just a little bit of a bump on the way back towards something truly spectacular from Alex Robinson.

16 MILES TO MERRICKS & OTHER WORKS OGN

By Barnaby Ward Publisher: Frogchildren Studios Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Although it’s a highly visual medium, it’s amazing how many comics rely so much on the written word to tell a tale. It takes a special type of writer to be able to convey a story solely with the art presented within the panel. I’ve always loved silent stories and although 16 MILES TO MERRICKS isn’t a completely silent tale, writer/artist Barnaby Ward knows when to shut up and let the art do the talking.
This book is an anthology with the title story taking up the lion’s share of the pages. A man comes home to find a woman in his apartment. He’s not sure who she is, but he feels as if she is vaguely familiar. The woman leads him through a doorway he never knew existed in one of his rooms. What transpires after this bizarre introduction is a dreamy and somber tale of waking dreams and living nightmares. Ward does a great job of leading and misleading the reader through situations that may or may not be real. It’s one of those books where the main character wakes up and finds himself in another scenario at the beginning of each chapter. It takes a bit of time to uncover what’s real and what’s in the character’s mind, but the ending chapter does a great job of answering all of the questions and coming to a satisfying and heartbreaking resolution.
Ward’s attention to detail and skewed angles make his banal subject matter (steam pipes and long corridors) completely fascinating. Ward has a great eye for making the panel pop and making it impossible to turn away. The labyrinth our main character journeys through is confusing, jarring, and downright scary, but beautiful just the same.
Ward’s artistic skill also shines in the short stories and pinups that take up the latter portion of the book. I especially like the short story “Rooftops” where an antennae-helmeted waif goes on a quest across the rooftops of a cityscape looking like a daylight version of BLADE RUNNER in order to watch her favorite show on her helmet-television. I also loved the sucker-monster thing from the surreal entry entitled “Highbeernation.”
And I can’t leave without mentioning Ward’s sketches for his version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND towards the back of the book, which he labels as “an ongoing project.” It’s something I can’t wait to see. Ward has a genius eye for graphically pleasing images. Some of his images look like prints or etchings. I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for that one when it eventually hits the shelves. Ward has a great eye for making the common uncommon. His pinups and costume and character design look to be someone more from the profession of fashion than graphic storytelling with so much of the attention focused on the type of clothing the characters wear and the realistic yet Gorey-esque shapes of the figures wearing them. Art appreciators take note, Barnaby Ward is someone to look out for. His artistic style and how he conveys that in story is pretty damn amazing. Barnaby Ward is a name we will all soon know and you, my noble Indie Jones readers, can say you heard about him here first. Check out 16 MILES TO MERRICKS & OTHER WORKS. It’s highly recommended.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #23 DC Comics

I so want to like JUSTICE LEAGUE. I like the roster. I like some of the character tidbits that writer Dwayne McDuffie has peppered in over the last year's run on the book. I even think artist Ed Benes has it in him to be fully capable of telling a compelling JLA story. But this story has so much going against it. First, we have yet another appearance by Amazo. How many times in the past year has the JLA faced this guy? How about a Kanjar Ro or a Despero? Hell, I'll take the Royal Flush Gang or even Abnegazar, Rath, and Ghast, fer chrissakes. But nope. We get Amazo again. And what edge-of-the-chair-sit-inducing subplot do we have to move the story along? You guessed it, more Vixen drama. This subplot is going on so long, it's as if Vixen has called upon the combined power of a snail riding a sloth's back. PLEASE MCDUFFIE, FINISH THE VIXEN SUBPLOT AND MOVE THE HELL ON! This has been going on for a year now with hardly any forward progression at all. Do something with Firestorm or Black Lightning or Black Green Lantern or Steel or any other black character recently inducted into the JLA. I don't care. Just finish this boring Vixen power-leech subplot and move on to a punchier plot, please. - Bug

NEW WARRIORS #14 Marvel Comics

I still don’t love this book. The characters tend to blur together for me and I don’t feel fully invested in the story. Could they just spit out whatever Night Thrasher is up to already? That said, I think NEW WARRIORS makes better use of the Secret Invasion storyline than some of the other titles. I love The New Warriors not even wanting to get mixed up in the drama and getting almost literally pulled into it. And the Skrulls set this invasion up in such a way as to breed confusion about who is a Skrull and who is not, who can be trusted and who can’t be. In some books they seem to talk about those ideas more than showing it. In NEW WARRIORS, to Grevioux’s credit, he runs with it and really shows those concepts being fully played out. And that stuff plays nicely into Night Thrasher’s annoying secrecy. I can only hope this Skrull crap forces him to just come clean. - Jinxo

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #26 DC Comics

Hot damn, this was a kick @$$ issue. The Green Lantern Corps sans Hal Jordan and John Stewart but with Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, that awesome freakin' robot Lantern and all the rest of the Corps take on Mongul and his handful of yellow rings. The Lanterns dogpile the yellow bastard and stomp his dick into the dirt, showing that you don't need Hal or John to make a kick @$$ GL comic. This issue is yet another in what seems to be a never ending stream of awesome GL issues. Most writers hold back their best stuff for "event" issues. Not writer Pete Tomasi. He piles enough kick-@$$-edness n this issue to justify a slew of event books. Tomasi is writing his fingers off here and accompanied by Patrick Gleason's sizzling pencils, this is an eventlike issue that isn't an event at all. Imagine that? - Bug

THE AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #15 Marvel Comics

This book continues to kick ass. This is another book doing a nice job with the Skrull Invasion. It just makes it feel like a really complicated and confusing situation with real forward momentum. Crusader’s story does a good job of, no pun intended, putting a real human face on both sides of the invasion. With some of the other Invasion titles I feel like I am reading a story, often one I want to get moving faster. In this case, I’m actually drawn in so that I’m not even thinking about it as a “story”. I’m thinking about the characters in a more real world sort of way. Crusader’s dilemma of being a hidden Skrull really gets me worrying for him. Should he be crazy brave and trusting and just tell his instructors who he is? If he doesn’t, isn’t it just going to end up blowing up on him in the long run? And the War Machine/Baron Blitzschlag beat is just a complicated thorny nugget of fun too. - Jinxo

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Readers Talkback

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  • July 30, 2008, 5:11 a.m. CST

    X-Men

    by Rupee88

    cool cover by Ross. I gave up on Marvel after the last secret war type summer crossover...just stupid now.

  • July 30, 2008, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Same with me Rupee88

    by mrfan

  • July 30, 2008, 5:46 a.m. CST

    I hear ya Rup

    by optimous_douche

    Aside from the X-titles I have pretty much abandoned Marvel as well (although I did like the latest She-Hulk that crossed X-Factor – Peter David, go figure).<p> The problem is I have collected every damn issue of Uncanny and I just can't let go.<p> I live every other facet of my life with scrutinizing pessimism, but for some reason I keep living under the delusion that the next issue of Uncanny will be the one to make the angels sing and rain Twisted Tea from the heavens.<p> The thing is, they haven’t been awful, they’re just not great.<p> I guess not everything can be.<p>

  • July 30, 2008, 5:51 a.m. CST

    after ennis is done with the Punisher in #60

    by palewook

    what does Marvel have left that's worth spending cash on monthly? not much.

  • July 30, 2008, 5:59 a.m. CST

    Uncanny

    by Mr_Sinister

    It was a weird issue. The dialogue was really odd too. Cyclops actually said 'Suck it' before attacking Magneto... Mike Carey's X-Men Legacy has been very consistent though. The end of the latest issue was surprising. I'm not sure if my favourite villain is really gone or not.

  • July 30, 2008, 6:24 a.m. CST

    Mr Sinister

    by optimous_douche

    While I can understand the loss of a penis would signify the end of life it self for most men (OK all).<p> Mr Sinister semed alive, well and content with his shiny new vagina and itty bitty titties.<p> Or did I miss something?

  • July 30, 2008, 6:55 a.m. CST

    Optimus

    by Mr_Sinister

    Haha, that was great!

  • July 30, 2008, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Bug, it's Sugar and SPIKE.

    by rev_skarekroe

    But that's semantics. Year None was indeed a fine comic. I like that the Bug isn't a sad sack like he was for his last few appearances (save 52), even if he's not quite the zany prankster he was in his early days. He's somewhere in between ("As usual, I lower Batman's swivel chair 6 inches. Don't tell him it was me"), which is just fine. It is very DC Universe in-jokey, so I don't think he's going to pull in many new readers, but you never know. My only other gripe is that I didn't understand until halfway through that this issue takes place shortly before Identity Crisis - I was all confused for a minute when he's talking to Jean Loring on the phone.

  • July 30, 2008, 7:47 a.m. CST

    "what does Marvel have left that's worth spending cash on monthl

    by rev_skarekroe

    I have high hopes for Guardians of the Galaxy.

  • July 30, 2008, 8:11 a.m. CST

    How do you...

    by Dax_Bladerunner

    know whether or not Marvels comics are any good if your not reading or buying them? Just saying.

  • July 30, 2008, 8:19 a.m. CST

    return of the bug...

    by blackthought

    all hail. giffen is still sharp thankfully.

  • July 30, 2008, 8:27 a.m. CST

    X-Men

    by Bluejack

    The X-Men have become tired. Wolverine in particular. 500 is like a giant reset button. Kitty Pryde=Armor. Just unoriginal and boring.

  • July 30, 2008, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Ambush Bug is supposed to be funny?

    by Funketeer

    I mean the comic sure is but the reviewer?

  • July 30, 2008, 9:39 a.m. CST

    fuck X-Men

    by kungfuhustler84

    Whedon's Astonishing is over, so who the hell needs it? Captain America and Iron Fist are all I really need. and fuck Secret Invasion too. no more crossovers for me thanks

  • July 30, 2008, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Firestorm in JLA?

    by FatRat

  • July 30, 2008, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Firestorm in JLA?

    by FatRat

    Which version of Firestorm is it? The original Ronnie Raymond or the new (can't remember his name) version. Either way, as long as he is back!

  • July 30, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Marvel = Nova

    by FatRat

    Right now the only Marvel comic I pick up on a regular basis is Nova. That's it. Used to love X-Men, Ghost Rider, Moon Night, Avengers, but lately the only one I can pick up is Nova.

  • July 30, 2008, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Fake Stan Lee's review of Kirby: King of Comics

    by Irving_Forbush

    ...from four and a half months ago, you know, like when the book came out? http://tinyurl.com/6g8mgm And his assessment of the who created Spider-Man controversy discussed in the same book: http://tinyurl.com/6jz672

  • July 30, 2008, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Comic book artwork rant

    by Snookeroo

    I think the AICN intro about the $5.99 embossed, die-cut, double bagged issue touches on something that the current stable of comic artists seem to miss entirely: simplicity. Less is more. The covers for X-Men, Thunderbolts, Justice League, GL Corps and Avengers are so over-done, so over-worked that you have to stare at them for 10 minutes just to figure out what's supposed to be happening. Certainly the use of gradients, textures, etc. are a great step forward in the medium; but like CGI in a movie it has it's place. When every effect is used full throttle, when every detail is rendered in minutia, the end result is a lot of visual noise. Speaking of Kirby -- he understood this better than most of the artists of his time. His panels were full, but never at the expense of not telling the story. Comic book artists have sacrificed the art of telling a story visually for the sake of technique alone. None of these covers are intriguing -- none of them make you want to buy the book. They are uber-rendered snapshots of characters posing. At it's heart, comic book artwork is a graphic depiction of a story; these artists are sacrificing the story for the sake of being too literal. Ok -- rant over. We now return you to your regularly scheduled talkback.

  • July 30, 2008, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Why do any of you guys even buy new comics?

    by Joenathan

    You don't like any of them. Why not just build a massive fort out of all your dusty old long boxes, crouch down and spend the rest of your days wacking it over the way they were? None of you, none, were willing to like SI before it came out, that much was obvious before the first issue hit and god forbid you have to review a Millar penned comic... Tell me, what exactly would Marvel have to do to satisfy you lot, since a cohesive, continuous, linked universe is obviously not what you want? I bet the answer is a return to the braindead, Norman Rockwell esqe story telling of the silver age, isn't it? People, people, everyone has to grow up sometime and that includes comics, so you should too.

  • July 30, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    I didn't think Dan Dare was an obscure character

    by O_Goncho

    Never read a Dan Dare comic in my life, mind you, but I can say the same for Captain America, Thor, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, etc and I've still known about them (and him) as long as I can remember.

  • July 30, 2008, 11:36 a.m. CST

    FUnniest line I've heard this year: "that Jack Kirby could draw

    by Cletus Van Damme

    Kirby could draw like epileptics breakdance.

  • July 30, 2008, 12:02 p.m. CST

    New Comics

    by Bluejack

    I love plenty of new comics. Just not the X-Men. My current Buy Pile: Iron Fist, Iron Man, Captain America, Daredevil, Invincible, GL, GLC, Walking Dead, Dynamo Five, Avengers (both), Powers, NOVA!!! and Guardians of the Galaxy. I just think the X-Men are stale.

  • July 30, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Kirby

    by Bluejack

    whether or not you actually like Kirby, it's nigh blasphemous to suggest he was not tremendously influencial. Snookeroo said he was ranting BTW. I personally find Kirby's work thick and heavy handed, but his page composition was great and he was a wonderful pictorial storyteller. One reason I like Invincible is the clean lines of the art, and that fits with that book (return to silver age as a veneer with more modern undertones). Daredevil and Cap are a lot less clean these days, which suits the in depth, gritty stories. When you look at X-Men 500, the art is VERY heavy, and I think that choice is not the best for the title.

  • July 30, 2008, 12:17 p.m. CST

    X

    by Homer Sexual

    Ok, first I want to say that I enjoy many comics, and have been trying to quit buying comics I no longer enjoy. But the purpose of reviews is not just to say how great something is. There are publicity sites if that is what one is looking for. <p> So, anyway, X-Men 500....whatever. As an off-and-on reader of X-Men. I picked up 500 to see if it was worth following, and I won't be picking up 501. 500 was just not especially interesting. It was ok, but I am not looking for more "ok" comics to spend my $$$. <p> Ambush Bug was good. Not great, but good. Some of it fell flat, even for long-time readers, and some of it was stale. But some of it was very amusing. I appreciate pointing out the misogynistic streak of killing the DC women. Marvel, meanwhile, is making nearly all the prominent Skrulls female as well. Maybe this is a back-to-basics move on the part of both companies to make comics more male again. <p> Speaking of dropping books that are "ok," New Warriors is about to meet that fate. I actually enjoy the storyline, but 14 issues in and only like two of them have personalities. I've read 14 issues of a book and still can't keep the team members straight? That is a problem.

  • July 30, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST

    I'm Not Quite Sure I Get Jaenathan's Rant

    by optimous_douche

    Isn't this site all about new comics?<p> No medium is perfect, nor will everyone love every aspect of it.<p> I thought we all converge here in an attempt to voice our concerns about facets of comics; if we truly hated them, we would not be here.<p> I did give SI a chance, but it was not to my liking. If my LCS orders are any indicator I'm in the minority.<p> I just don't care any more. They shouldn't be fixing continuity after the fact, it should always be front of mind. Marvel is not alone DC makes similar gaffs.<p> I wonder what editorial does all day??????<p>

  • July 30, 2008, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Anyone read War Heroes?

    by BangoSkank

    That was the new Millar book last week, right? What did people think?

  • July 30, 2008, 12:34 p.m. CST

    PAD Supergirl - want to know what happened?

    by Squashua

    Read "Reign in Hell"!

  • July 30, 2008, 12:53 p.m. CST

    JLA Vixen subplot deemed boring by guy creaming jeans over Ambus

    by MrSensitive

    ...the line between pass and fail gets weirder and weirder by the week.

  • July 30, 2008, 1:50 p.m. CST

    evanier is coming out with a true biography of the king

    by bacci40

    this was just a taste...he was pushed by his publisher to put something out before the encyclopedia sized biography is released in about a year...

  • July 30, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST

    You got the touch, Optimous, you got the power

    by Joenathan

    All I'm saying is that, it seems to me that I could write each of your opinions before you do. Now, you, yourself, Optimous, you're not as bad as some of the others here (although definately guilty of the pre-SI release hate... admit it), but it seems to me that many of the rest here are driven not by a love for comics or the stories and art they contain but by a deeply rooted batch of hurt feelings over the fact that despite having read comics for 40ish years, they're still largely ignored by the industry. So that percieved slight and the feeling of this World leaving them behind, seems to make them generally kind of bitter. This is what I read every week. Wah, wah, comics are as good as they used to be, wah, wah, remember how awesome the old avengers were, wah, wah, I pooed myself. I postulate that perhaps the natural and nesecary evolution comics are currently undergoing just makes some here feel older and more and more marginalized each week. I don't want a site of promotional material and I don't want a site of bitter old weiners whining all the live long day, I just want the personal issues left at home. Also... Did anyone read the latest Iron Fist? Hows the new creative team?

  • July 30, 2008, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Also

    by Joenathan

    Homer... what do you mean "trying" to quit buying comics you don't like? "trying?" Dude...

  • July 30, 2008, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Iron Fist

    by Jinxo

    I almost wrote up something on Iron Fist but I thought someone else was snagging it. I actually like the new team so far. The art is good and the writing moves the story forward without missing a beat. Where the new Thunderbolts team took an obvious beat to reestablish everything going on in the book, Iron Fist just kept running seamlessly. And starting off with a plot involving Iron Fist being in danger of death from... something that has killed almost every other Iron Fist in history? Pretty good material for a first story if you ask me.

  • July 30, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST

    And btw, Blake Bell's Ditko book...

    by Irving_Forbush

    ... kicks Evanier's Kirby book's ass. But the Ditko book just came out a couple of weeks ago, so we should be seeing an AICN review of it sometime in November!

  • July 30, 2008, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Yeah,the AICN reviewers are largely ignored by the industry.

    by rev_skarekroe

    That's why there's review quotes all over half the trades I pick up.

  • July 30, 2008, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Golly, you're right, Joenathan.

    by SleazyG.

    I mean, it's not like there were four positive reviews of Marvel books, one or two for DC, and several indie reviews of new books. And a manga review. And a review of an actual, y'know, *book* without pictures. Oh, and the webcomics. Yep, just one big ol' bitch section over here.<p> Or, y'know, alternately, we read whatever we want (cuz we bought it with our own money) and then tell people what we think, giving both the old and the new and the mainstream and the indie a try.<p> Naaah, that can't be it. We're just crotchety old haters. Yeah. Suuure.

  • July 30, 2008, 3:42 p.m. CST

    KIRBY Explanation

    by stones_throw

    Not that I have anything to explain, since I actually wrote a review, but... I'm AICN Comics UK-based @r$ehole. KING OF COMICS was only released here about a month or so ago. Factor in time to get around to reading it and writing a review into my, uh...busy schedule... and you get the review you just read right about now. So apologies, fuck you etc.

  • July 30, 2008, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Bacci40

    by stones_throw

    Yeah, I heard that. But I still think that KING OF COMICS was the best way to do a biography. Like, I was reading a review of it in the Guardian newspaper which criticized Evanier's text for not being detailed enough. What do you want him to do? Describe a picture or show it? And let's be realistic here, this is a guy who spent most of his life at a desk in his basement or an office. Kirby's life was thrilling by comic book standards, I'm sure, but he's hardly Muhammad Ali or Bob Dylan.<p>But I'm sure I'd still read another Evanier biography.

  • July 30, 2008, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Sorry Rev, Sleazy

    by Joenathan

    All I heard was Wah, wah, wah. Thanks for the response Jinxo. I heard bad things about the writer's Cable run so I was a little worried and hadn't picked it up yet.

  • July 30, 2008, 4:17 p.m. CST

    The Hatin' of SECRET INVASION

    by stones_throw

    Christ, I thought this was buried months ago. But if Marvel are gonna market a book that aggressively, with a total of five (FIVE!) variant covers and months of hype all over the internet, then I have a right, nay, a moral duty to address that in a review. Sure, you could make an argument for focusing only on the content of a comic, but let’s be honest—SECRET INVASION #1 had nothing to do with content. It’s all about the pre-release buzz, the hyperbolic promises in press releases, making Marvel’s and Bendis’ loyal followers feel like they’re a part of something. That’s why my review was a page-by-page breakdown of what actually happened in the book. Not so spectacular when taken on its own, right? But it comes from a good place, folks. We @$$holes Marvel and DC to improve, to put out event comics that actually make sense and are exciting. That’s why we’ve got to be tough on ‘em sometimes.<p>But you’re right, I do hate that damn Secret Invasion. Skrulls really mess up my routine. Luckily, I hear Skrull Queen candidate Barack Skrullama has plans for a 16-month withdrawal of all pointy-eared forces.

  • July 30, 2008, 4:20 p.m. CST

    On the other hand...

    by Snookeroo

    There are contemporary artists like Adam Hughes who have taken comic art to a whole new level. His work is just phenomenal -- unbelievable use of color, pattern and textures -- but all used to enhance the visual story, not just complicate the image. The same goes for Alex Ross (he just needs to find some different models). To me, these guys are Neal Adams -- the Next Generation. And that's a good thing!

  • July 30, 2008, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Ha! The guy posts a whiny, baseless rant...

    by stones_throw

    ...and then calls the two guys with actual counter-arguments babies! Ha!

  • July 30, 2008, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Kirby's Street Code was published

    by ProfHeff

    Just a by-the-by: Kirby's Street Code was published in Argosy Magazine - Volume 3 Number 2 around 1990 - had one of those nice Steranko covers of Philip Wylie's The Savage Gentleman which is supposed to be the forerunner of Doc Savage. They pop up every so often for sale. See ya'!

  • July 30, 2008, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Hey, Cletus...

    by stones_throw

    Do epileptics breakdance badly or well? I'm not sure. Either way, the line was meant ironically. So if you're complimenting me, thanks. If you're not, well, shove it, buddy.

  • July 30, 2008, 6:11 p.m. CST

    X-Men's SF Mayor

    by xsi kal

    "The only portion of this lead-in that bothered me was the mayor of San Francisco. Being an uptight cynical bastard raised in New Jersey, I just don’t get the California laid-back vibe. There is no way a flibbertigibbet like this would ever hold a public office in the North East corridor. Maybe it’s a left coast thing, but I’m just not buying this woman as an elected official. I only hope she fades into the background in future issues."<br><br> I live on the West Coast, and it's not that far off. Heck, we had a runoff in San Diego's last mayoral election where a write-in candidate, ex-alcoholic, surfer environmentalist almost won, (and should have, if all the ballots were allowed).

  • July 30, 2008, 6:15 p.m. CST

    All of these assumptions, Joenathan...tsk, tsk, tsk...

    by Ambush Bug

    Here's a shocker for you, Kreskin, I actually like SECRET INVASION. It's one of the few major events that is actually kind of working. I know it's hard to understand, but we really don't have a secret agenda here at AICN Comics. If we read something and like it, we say so. Same goes for if we don't. No conspiracy. No sitting around in a circle in a darkly lit room devising how we are going to hurt the feelings of whoever it is Wizard told you to idolize this month. It's just our opinions.<br><br> Guess what, you have them too. And I'm totally cool with that. Why go on the attack because ours don't match up?<br><br> Seeing you get this worked up over a siple opinion is pretty funny.<br><br> Now, is SECRET INVASION perfect. No. Nothing is. And as critics, we try to point out concrete reasons why we like or dislike something. That usually means we point out both the flaws and the perfect bits too. I like SECRET INVASION for having a scope that can effect the entirity of the Marvel U. It doesn't seem forced. This is something that warrants a company wide crossover, unlike WORLD WAR HULK, which would have functioned just fine and dandy as a story within HULK and maybe a few other titles like SHE-HULK and IRON MAN. But I'm objective enough to see that the recent Ka-Zar and Elektra issues of Avengers was pushing it since...well...they're not really Avengers, now, are they?<br><br> See what I did there, Joe-Nat. I gave a criticism of a story and still liked it. It's possible. It really is.<br><br> There are ten active reviewers here at AICN Comics and a few inactives and trainees lurking around here as well. I'm sure there will be one person here that you may agree with. We have discussions all the time about this between the Holes. Some like a certain artist or book. Others have strong feelings to the contrary. Do I threaten Jinxo's grandmother with a hammer every time he disagrees with me about the right way to do an Aquaman story? Well, come to think of it, I do, but it's all done on good fun and with loads of respect.<br><br> We've got opinions. So do you. They won't always be the same. Try to understand that and you and everyone else around you will have a bit more to enjoy in life. In the mean time, let's work on that assumption problem and those paranoid delusions that everyone is out to get Millar and Bendis, mmmkay?<br><br>

  • July 30, 2008, 7 p.m. CST

    GRAMMA NOOO!!!

    by Jinxo

    Threaten Granny with a hammer all ya want. I got me Mephisto on speed dial so, hey, she's just coming back anyway. I've already traded away my wife, my dog, a neighbor... at least I think I have. I don't really remember but there is this small part of me that screams out in sadness for losses I can't quite remember. Then again, could just be gas. But it is worth it to make Granny death proof.

  • July 30, 2008, 7:35 p.m. CST

    Trying to Quit

    by Homer Sexual

    Look, I would be willing to bet that I am far from the only person who has bought comics for months out of habit. I got bored of X Men long before I dropped it, because I'd been reading it for so long, and wanted it to get better. Lucky for Marvel and DC that tons of readers do the exact same thing, or lots of books would no longer be getting published. <p> This same phenomenon applies to TV as well. I was reading a Smallview TB here (never seen the show) and a lot of people have clearly kept watching a show they apparently haven't liked for three seasons. TPTB certainly prefer people to watch/read their product, then bitch, rather than just not reading it.

  • July 30, 2008, 7:37 p.m. CST

    King of Comics? Shiiiit, Kirby was practically a God

    by Stalkeye

    his fucking splash pages just leaped out at ya.And it takes a unique imagination to conjure up some of the craziest but cool concepts and designs back when most comics were bland.The man was influentual anyone that doesn't acknowledge his works, don't know shit about Comics.Nuff Said!

  • July 30, 2008, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Hey stones_throw

    by Irving_Forbush

    I stand properly chastised and apologize, my British brother. Hopefully the Bell Ditko book will get across the ocean faster than the Kirby book. I thought Blake Bell delivered a much more complete and entirely satisfying book on Ditko than Evanier did with the Kirby book. I suppose in holding back stuff for the larger biography he shot himself in the foot. Evanier's book was Iron Man movie good (7.5-8/10) and Bell's Ditko book was Dark Knight good (rock solid 10/10).

  • July 30, 2008, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Bug to Forbush...now there's a team up I'd like to see happen...

    by Ambush Bug

    I just got that Ditko book and I'm going to try to digest it in a timely manner to review. It looks phenomenal and very comprehensive though.

  • July 30, 2008, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Irving_Forbush...again...this biography is not complete

    by bacci40

    but will be in 1-2 years...this is a coffee table book, designed (as far as i can tell) for the publisher to determine if there is indeed enough interest in kirby to warrant what appears to be a volumonous biography to come...it has sold pretty well, so i guess the biography is a total go...and i do not understand anyone saying that they do no like kirby's art...if you grew up when i did, it was kirby (and not that fuck lee) that drew you to comics...his characters jumped off the page...we didnt need movies...we had kirby comics...and no 4th world...no star wars and no current dcu...

  • July 30, 2008, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Kirby is the true King...Lee was a mere thief

    by PervOmatic

    The Marvel Method that Lee is renowned for was this: Toss your artist a few loose ideas and then have them do the bulk of the work where they probably ditched half of your crap ideas which you stole from old comics anyway Stan because you weren't as talented as the staff you surrounded yourself with. Kirby, Ditko, Heck, Colan Steranko, Stern, Thomas, etc, etc, etc, etc...those guys really built the Marvel Universe that we know. Lee just took all the credit. That Kirby book is fantastic though and I relished every page. The art really pops out at you. Great stuff. Now why hasn't there been a big boffo book of Lee's work....because others did it for him.

  • July 30, 2008, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Ambush Bug's return

    by BizarroJerry

    I never read AB in the old days, but I knew it was a parody comic. I read this one and really enjoyed it, especially since the Infinity Crisis, Inc or whatever left me less than thrilled. My favorite little bit in this was the photo of the grinning, "thumbs up" Vertigo Sandman. And I like that we learned what REALLY set Jean Loring off...

  • July 30, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST

    "what does Marvel have left that's worth spending cash on"

    by Alex Wilder

    Jason Aaron. Ghost Rider and Punisher Max (I think).

  • July 31, 2008, 2:46 a.m. CST

    AMBUSH BUG reviewing AMBUSH BUG...

    by RickSlamu2

    Does anyone else smell a greenhouse nearby??? Well at least he has the manure for his plants!

  • July 31, 2008, 7:06 a.m. CST

    You don't need to slam Stan Lee to boost Jack Kirby.

    by rev_skarekroe

    They needed each other, really. Jack's stuff without Stan scripting tends to be silly. Really silly.

  • July 31, 2008, 7:07 a.m. CST

    RickSlamu2

    by rev_skarekroe

    Was that supposed to be an ironic comment or are you actually retarded?

  • July 31, 2008, 7:27 a.m. CST

    Iron Fist.

    by Bluejack

    I'm not as pleased with the current artist, but I agree that the death by age 33 mystery is interesting. Overall Iron Fist has been given much more depth as a character.

  • July 31, 2008, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Iron Fist

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Anyone else here jonesing for a "seven warriors of heaven" spin-off book?

  • July 31, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Kamandi

    by steverodgers

    Kirby + Talking Apes = Comic Book Heaven.

  • July 31, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Kirby and Lee

    by Homer Sexual

    Good points by Jeff, and to add to it: Did you ever see "Who wants to be a Super Hero?" That was some awful, awful crap. Lee was all over it, and if you liked it, then, yes, Lee is the bomb. I give credit where credit is due, but Kirby pwns Lee.

  • July 31, 2008, 10:46 a.m. CST

    I'm sorry, man.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Death as a guy on snow-skis? Captain America's great-great-great-Grandad also happened to be a Captain America? It's comics, sure, but Lee made all this stuff seem strangely plausible. I know it's fashionable lately to dump all over Stan Lee, but I guarantee you we wouldn't be discussing this stuff today if it weren't for him.

  • July 31, 2008, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Jeff

    by stones_throw

    How is which order I put Coipel and Kirby in a strike, exactly? Man, if I were playing baseball I'd be pissed. So, fair play (is that a suitable sports metaphor?) I was wrong about STREET CODE, but it really seems to me like you're nitpicking and ignoring the 600+ other words or so of pure gold in there. I mean, I'm not sure you make the best referee, dude. You've got to let the game play. But thanks, I suppose.<p>And I'm with the Rev on Lee/Kirby. It was a partnership in every sense of the word. Sure, you can debate who was the most important, and that may well be Kirby, since he was plotting and drawing most of his books. But he didn't come up with characters like the Fantastic Four, the Incredile Hulk and the X-Men on his own, and Lee's dialogue as well as Kirby and Ditko's rule-breaking art is a lot of what shines about early Marvel. Like Buzz said a while back, SAVAGE SHE-HULK is nor INCREDIBLE HULK, but the New Gods aren't the FF either.

  • July 31, 2008, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Unlikely that Lee screwed Kirby Out of Spider-Man.

    by Smerdyakov

    Steve Dikto was every bit the star that Kirby was and the project was so right for him. I mean, can you imagine Kirby's Spider-Man with bulging muscles and swaggering stride? I can't.

  • July 31, 2008, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Ooooooh, you guys LIKE Secret Invasion...

    by Joenathan

    I must have missed that with all the whining about how it was marketed and what not, because that is OBVIOUSLY a very important facet when considering the story... The best example I can remember is the near constant queefy-dirges that go on here over decompression and blah-blah-blah and how nothing ever happens in comics (especially ones by Millar and Bendis) and then when SI #1 hits and when a whole bunch of shit happens, every man-child one of you was like; "Wah, too much happened, there was no mention of motivation, why weren't we told the ending in the first few pages, we didn't get enough time to breath." The proof is in the pudding, boys. Look, I'll tell you what. Why don't you guys tell me what you're planning on reviewing next week and I'll guess what you'll say. Here's a preview: (too be read in a the style of a haughty nerd) "Old Man Logan by Mark Millar would have been good if it had been written by someone else except maybe Bendis and had been done in half the space with less focus on character and more focus on pointless fisticuffs without consequence. Perhaps with some fan service, as well. Also, I am a vagina." I'm paraphrasing, of course. All kidding and inflammatory statements aside (God love them), I don't fault anyone for having their own opinions, however I do fault someone who claims to be a reviewer and yet, has very obviously had their mind made up WAY BEFORE reviewing the product, thus... my rant. But I digress.... So.... anyone read War Heroes?

  • July 31, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST

    My review of Joenathan's anticipatory review:

    by SleazyG.

    "blah, blah, LOOK AT ME, blah."

  • July 31, 2008, 1:11 p.m. CST

    What Kirby and Lee did apart

    by rock-me Amodeo

    No, sorry, gotta call bulshit on this one. They needed each other like Martin and Lewis. Though Kirby went on and did MORE things than Lee, and better things than Lee, he never did anything that matched the heights of what he and Lee did together.<br><br>Together, they did the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengerss, the original X-Men, the Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, Galactus, The Watcher, Magneto...and on and on.<br><br>Separately, Kirby did "The Fourth World, The Demon, Kamandi, The Eternals, Devil Dinosaur..." Only Kamandi ran for more than a few years (5). Most ran for a year or less, and many for less than that. (I remember buying them right off the spinner, and I really WANTED to like them, but...)<br><br>Of all those concepts, none were such that anyone could run with, despite effort after effort after effort...mostly done out of respect for the great creator he was. But He and Stan did their best work together, period, and they needed each other. You want to argue that, and you're creating a whole new orifice to pull that out of.

  • July 31, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    And don't give me any crap about how great the Fourth Wall is...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Sure, they get used year after year. But nine out of ten time, its a snooze-fest. We read to see how the established characters deal with them. No one cares about Scott Free or Orion or Black Racer. Barda and Oberon are the only ones who are half-way interesting. Even Darkseid is predictable, and try saying Granny Goodness without snickering.

  • July 31, 2008, 1:38 p.m. CST

    rock-me Amodeo

    by toadkillerdog

    I absolutely agree. Lee/Kirby or Kirby/Lee, were far greater as a team, than at any other point of their amazing, incredible, uncanny, stupendifirous careers. I, too bought Kirby off the newstand after he left Marvel, because it was Kirby! But, it is quite evident from reading his early 1970's DC works, that as great a storyteller, and artist as he was. As unparalled as he was at conceptualizing new ideas, and transferring them onto paper. He absolutley needed someone like Lee or possibly even Simon (though who was not in the same class as Lee), to control his excesses. And without a doubt, he could not write dialogue.<p> Separately, neither achieved the greatness of their Marvel collaboration. That in indisputable. Together, they were they greatest comics team that ever lived.

  • July 31, 2008, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Bwah-hah-hah! Fourth WORLD, not Fourth Wall

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Though, admittedly, I"m no fan of that, either. I must have been thinking She-Hulk when I wrote that.

  • July 31, 2008, 2:12 p.m. CST

    My review of Sleazy's review of my review

    by Joenathan

    Doooooooooooooooooooooouche.

  • July 31, 2008, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Great Moments In Judgement Calls - Summer 1968

    by Snookeroo

    I remember taking Silver Surfer #1 off the spinner rack in a grocery store. I walked towards the cash register, issue #1 in hand, changed my mind, turned around, put the issue back on the rack, and bought something stupid like a Supergirl 80 Page Giant instead. Just wanted to share that Kodak Moment.

  • July 31, 2008, 2:27 p.m. CST

    But in your defense, Snookeroo...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    It was 80 PAGES! At that age, we bought comics like we now shop for groceries...it's not just a function of quality, it's how much I can get per ounce.<br><br>you made the best decision you could with the only information available. I walked away from Conan #1 for a similar reason.

  • July 31, 2008, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Rock-me Amodeo

    by Snookeroo

    That's very true. Additionally, I was more of a DC fan at the time -- especially anything that had to do with Superman. For my .25 allowance, I could get TWO .12 issues (and still have enough to cover sales tax!) So spending a whole quarter for a less desireable character was a big decision.

  • July 31, 2008, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Well, Jeff...

    by stones_throw

    Seeing as how I actually noted in the review that Kirby drew the proposals in 1968, I admit I'm hard pushed to see how someone could be confused by which came first--since the current THOR book is being published in this year (2008, FYI). So, no, Kirby not ripping off Coipel. Just making that clear to anyone else who was confused. But thanks for being my elementary school teacher. I'll work on those semantics.<p>To get back to the interesting part of the discussion, no, I'm not saying Kirby's solo work was better or worse. I agree, in many ways it is more impressive. But it's pretty close to fact that nothing he created on his own after Marvel was as iconic or immediate as his work with Stan. Draw your own conclusions from that.

  • July 31, 2008, 7:55 p.m. CST

    What a coincidence

    by Homer Sexual

    I like to read Wolverine. But I didn't like that stupid story Chaykin drew about Logan fighting the Angel of Death. I read it, though, and then came "Get Mystique" which rocked and made me glad I was buying Wolverine. Currently, I guess I am the old guy hating on Millar because Old Man Logan sucks ass, and not in a good way. Should I drop it? Tell me what to do Joenathan. <p> PS: I like Secret Invasion, although I am starting to like it not as much as I did the first 3 issues. And Millar is good sometimes (like on Authority) and bad sometimes (like Logan). <p> pps: I am not a vagina. A dick, sure.

  • July 31, 2008, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Last!

    by Snookeroo

  • July 31, 2008, 11:32 p.m. CST

    NEXT ISSUE....

    by buster00

    DARKSEID!!

  • Aug. 1, 2008, 12:04 a.m. CST

    Ignored By the Industry

    by Buzz Maverik

    I used to write reviews here when I was just an insomniac instead of a freakishly busy insomiac. The crew is a little more professional than we were at first, but I think some of the same punkishness is still alive and thrashing, so I'm sure the @$$holes would say: We don't review comics for the industry. We review 'em for ourselves. Who'd possibly care if they were ignored by the comic book industry?

  • Aug. 1, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST

    I used to have a difficult client...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    ...back in the days when I owned my mom-n-pop computer shops. Mr. Mather. Whenever he called, it was always with a complaint of something that needed fixing, which I usually did personally (rather than passing the buck to one of my techs.)<br><br>People would ask me, "Why do you keep him as a client? He can be such a pain!" And I replied,"He's not a pain as much as he's simply uncompromising. If the crap always worked the way it was supposed to, he would be fine." Then I would pause and say,"The other reason I keep him is for the endorsement. See, other people might say we're good, but they might say that about ALOT of things. When MR. MATHER tells people we're good, people LISTEN! To have a curmudgeon like that endorsing us is worth ten ordinary endorsements." And Mr. Mather was my client for years, even AFTER I sold my shops. He was a good guy, really.<br><br>And that's us, at AICN. The fact is, we really DON'T get ignored by the comic-book industry, its just that we ruffle as many feathers as we smooth. An endorsement from us MEANS something, and everyone in the industry who reads this column knows that. Our praise is ALWAYS sincere, even if it's more infrequent than other columns. <br><br>As Bug likes to say, we're not "assholes," we're "@$$holes."

  • Aug. 1, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Amodeo, you are very, very cute,

    by Joenathan

    but oh so deluded... ANYWAY, Homer Sexual, YOU must buy me ice cream. DO AS I SAY! And don't drop Old Man Logan, even if you don't like it, a Judd Winick lovin' comic reader such as yourself needs a bit of good karma. Myself, I'm loving Old Man Logan, if its Post Apocalypty, then its for me, thats what I always say. Didn't you read the latest one? Blind Hawkeye Zatoichi-ing a biker gang to death? Good stuff. How can you not like it? Oh, wait... were you the one that was hung up on the xbox mention and the town called Pym Cross? Look, the Xbox is supposed to show you that even though he doesn't fight anymore, that Logan is still a fighter. Yes, it is a lame, out of date toy that his kids don't even care about, but he's drawn a line and damn i, he'll stand on it and that line is: no matter how low he gets, he's not going to take anything away from his children. He's a man and he would rather take a brutal beating than make his children give up even the littlest of things that he has provided them. He won't sink that low. He has honor. That moment is to highlight that Logan is as strong as ever. As for Pym Cross, obviously when we get there, we're going to see a giant Hank Pym skleton hanging off a cross. Whats not to love about that? Maybe I'm just an old fan of the classic X-men and What if dystopia of days gone by, but this one is hitting all the marks for me so far and I can't wait for more. Plus, I love the declaration of SI love, I don't believe it since it always comes with a caveat, but I do find it funny. Not funny ha-ha, more like funny peculiar, suspect, some might say...

  • Aug. 1, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Well

    by Homer Sexual

    I actually passed on Old Man Logan because I just thought the characterization of Wolverine was too ridiculous, and like I said,I'm trying to avoid buying comics I don't like. So I skipped it, but not because of Pym Cross or whatever, that wasn't me...I am not a nitpicker, but I found softy old Logan laughable in the first issue, stood there having a mental debate with myself in the LCS and then took a pass. But your explanation of Pym Cross is pretty good...might have to pick the next issue up just for that, if your theory is correct. <p> I don't know why you'd say it's suspect that I like Secret Invasion. (not love, but like) Why would I say I like it if I didn't? To establish cred? Whatever....old guys like me don't really need to prove ourselves online. The new Mighty Avengers was pretty good. So what if I have a caveat? I will even add another....the only big reveals have been Spider-Woman and Hank Pym, so I am doubting there will be any skrulls posing as real major characters. It's still good though.

  • Aug. 1, 2008, 10:15 a.m. CST

    In Fact

    by Homer Sexual

    Old Man Logan points out one of my more salient points in a recent talkback. People were complaining about the characterization of Batman or Wolverine or someone, and I said that the big icons are in so many books by so many writers, that if you don't like the way one writer portrays them, don't read that writer. There are plenty of other versions out there to choose from. Old Man Logan is not a version I care for. I am still on the fence because like I said, I tend to keep buying several issues before finally dropping a book, but I figure this is a one-story arc from Millar, and so I think I'll wait till it's over and give the next story another chance. If this story gets better,I can always pick up the back issues.

  • Aug. 1, 2008, 12:15 p.m. CST

    I meant the Royal You, Homer, not just you

    by Joenathan

    butm yes, I believe you only say that for cred, so ha! I think the "well guess what I liked SI" are all just limp attempts to say "take that, Joenathan", well guess what, I won't be taking it, no sir. Cred: denied! Ahem... Softy Logan? Look, it takes more strength of will to NOT fight and thus, protect his family from the veritable army of super villians that would desend upon them all, than to react blindly (and may I say: lamely, as in silver age consequence free fisticuffs). Logan could have gutted all three of the Hulk gang and then what? Run? With his family? His children? Where? He knows where that road would lead. This is not a soft Logan, this is hard Logan times 10, this is a man that is not only willing to make very hard choices, but a man willing to destroy himself in order to stand by them. This is a man who took a vow for a reason and he has the strength of will to uphold it. This is a man who refuses to give into the beast, a man who knows responsibility, a man of honor and frankly, of all the versions we've seen of Wolverine, after seeing him get pummeled by the Hulk gang and knowing just what he is capable of, I'd say this is the strongest Logan we've seen. Soft Logan... HA! YOU'RE soft!

  • Aug. 1, 2008, 5:54 p.m. CST

    I think I get it, Jeff...

    by stones_throw

    It looks like you're being overly literal-minded, boring, pedantic and repetitve, but in fact all those other overly literal-minded, boring, pedantic and repetitve posters are simply following *you*! Since this is such a big point for you, I'll say it again: Kirby 1968, Coipel 2008. And since you really have proven what Sleazy said about not understanding even the most simple tone, humor or snarkiness: yes, I know you know that. The sad thing is I think you think you really are being helpful and/or intelligent by making up some mysterious mistake and harping on about it. How about you go play grammar police at some other website you hate?

  • Aug. 2, 2008, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Oh dear, Jeff's sarcasm detector is still broken

    by stones_throw

    Put as plainly as possible, buddy: I don’t care. I don’t write my reviews for some random grammar fascist with a red pen. If you want reviews where every word is in the order you want ‘em and it goes along exactly with your thoughts, I’d suggest writing your own. Cause I refuse to hold your hand through every thought I had about the book, and so if you’re gonna be so damn literal you’re gonna have to look elsewhere.<p>I hate talking down to people but you just aren’t getting it. See, when I say “it looks like Coipel’s current take on the character”, that is me IMPLYING (writing on more than one level) that Kirby was way ahead of his time. The reader is left to infer that conclusion, since I specifically state in the frickin’ review Kirby was drawing in 1968. Or, you know, not. You seem to realize what I’m saying, even if you’re taking it overwhelmingly at face value, so why get so hung up on the exact wording of a clause in a review that is incredibly positive and pro-Kirby? I couldn’t say, but I could probably hazard a guess.

  • Aug. 3, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    by Arkhangelsk

    Regarding the Uncanny X-Men 500, although I will admit that the artistic jam took away a lot of the steam the story was trying to build (and I did wonder why White Queen and Cyclops kept smiling at me like I was a magazine photographer), I think the problem of why the issue was very good but just that short of great, is the addition of Fraction on the scripting end. What I've read of Fraction writing alone, I didn't quite like. Although it wasn't awful, it just didn't grab me. On the other hand, I'm a huge Ed Brubaker fan. Been following him since Prez: Smells Like Teen President, but I know he isn't infallible. His work on X-Men is very hit or miss. Deadly Genesis was passable, loved his Rise And Fall of the Shiar Empire, couldn't stand the few issues that came after it, Messiah Complex was ok and the few issues after that were absolute great fun. Point is, the dude just doesn't seem to really get how to tell a story about a group of characters (see his work on The Authority versus, say, his stupendous Captain America). When Fraction was announced as coming on board, I wasn't too worried. While The Immortal Iron Fist was written by Brubaker/Fraction, I consider it a modern masterpiece. But I think maybe having the two of them working on a team book is gonna turn out to be a mistake, but let's see. UXM 500 was still very good, though. Oh and everyone who thinks that Garth Ennis is a one-trick pony (well, really, a 3-trick pony as his work can admittedly be seperated in three categories which sometimes cross over, ie gross humour/extreme violence, anti-superhero and war stories) better check out his Dan Dare. Ennis has now proven himself as being an excellent science-fiction writer as well.

  • Aug. 3, 2008, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)

    by Snookeroo

    Can you tell me how old Dan might have done it If he'd been here now, holy cow My stars might have been read on the planet Mars Because I don't have foresight to see If we still be together in the twenty first In the twenty first century He's our flying ace, pilot of the future In an endless space, holy cow My eyes never saw a rocket that was quite that size Because I don't have the energy To be cat and mouse for the champions For the champions of destiny So long captain Dan I fail to see what motivates your hands Goodbye restless night You know I loved Dan Dare, but I couldn't make his flight So long, so long Dan Dare doesn't know it He doesn't know it He doesn't know it But I liked the Mekon Elton John/Rock of the Westies/circa 1975

  • Aug. 7, 2008, 9:21 p.m. CST

    test

    by Snookeroo

    This is just <br><br> a test.